The Zonta Club of Rotorua was chartered on 23 August 1973.

  • Regional Representative, Region III, Cherry Raymond Mentored the club
  • New Zealand was part of District XVI encompassing Australia and New Zealand.
  • Charter was presented by International President Harriett Yeckel.
  • Charter President was Cecelie Rushton. Charter membership was 25.


4th Tuesday of each month except December and January. Current venue the Millennium Hotel, Rotorua but many venues over the years..


 For most of its history the Board comprised President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary – Minutes, Secretary – Correspondence and a minimum of 2 Directors.

Current committees: Advocacy; Service; Fundraising; Membership; Nominating, as well as Young Woman in Public Affairs Award and Young Woman’s Study Award.


Club hosted the District Conference in Rotorua in 1985 and 2016; five members have served as Area Director : June Berry, Gwen Ross, Cecelia Roper, Janette Irvine and currently Robyn Cowley.   Janette Irvine is now Lt. Governor of District 16.


  • Young Woman’s Study Award established 1976 to financially assist a high school student going on to tertiary studies.
  • Zonta Achievement Awards established in 1977.       Four women acknowledged in our community biennially.
  • In 1993 established the Zonta Suffrage Grove by planting trees in the Centennial Park to honour the Centenary of Women’s Suffrage.
  • Support Rotorua Women’s Refuge which cares for domestic violence victims and their children.
  • Support Rotorua School for Young Parents established to enable schoolgirls who become pregnant to continue their education.
  • Annually support International Women’s Day and present Yellow Roses to 6 deserving women in the community.
  • ‘Zonta Says No to Violence’ Campaign supported and continues to be a major focus of the club.


Current President: Pam McGrath

Current Membership Total: 27

Club Historian: Betty Gleed

Club Archivist: Julia Charity

Current Service Projects:

  1. Young Woman’s Study Award established in 1976 to financially assist a high school student with tertiary studies.
  2. Zonta Women’s Achievement Awards established in 1977.
  3. We also support Rotorua Women’s Refuge and Rotorua School for Young Parents.
  4. We celebrate International Women’s Day by presenting yellow roses to six deserving women.
  5. ‘Zonta Says No to Violence’ camapaign.
  6. ‘Pamper Day’-care for the carers.


Member numbers have fluctuated between a high of 35 and a low of 19 with an average of 25. The current membership is 29.   We maintain links with former members through ‘Friends of Zonta’ who receive a copy of our monthly newsletter. The club mentored the Zonta Club of Tauranga in 1988 and endeavoured to establish a club in Taupo but was not successful.


Charter members Cecilie Rushton became a District Court Judge; June Berry was the first women Police Constable in New Zealand; Georgina Te Heu Heu became a National MP; Rangi Briggs and Doris Finn received 30 year Certificates from International Presient Mary Bittner. Dr Julia Charity presented with Zonta Science Award by the Wellington Club; Gwen Ross made a Zonta Centurion.


Over the years we have supported:

  • At Club level: various Cancer appeals; Safe Families Rotorua; Sophie Elliott Foundation; a horse named Zonta presented to the Riding for the Disabled Club.
  • At District Level: NZ Endometriosis; NZ Gynaecology; made 100 lavalavas for Samoan women after the country suffered a Tsunami; a project in Somalia and fundraising for Solomon Islands.
  • At International level: we have contributed a third of our fundraising to Amelia Earhart Scholarships and have selected one of the biennium projects as our major focus, including Elimination of FGM in Bueno Farsi; Elimination of Childbirth Deaths in Nepal; Elimination of Obstetric Fistula in Liberia.


In 2010 we recently established a “Pamper Day” when we invite women who are caring for someone who needs full time care to a morning tea at a local hotel. We have provided lunch at the local hospice on a day when patients gather for light entertainment.


The club has been well represented at all International Conventions (eg Paris, Hawaii, Sweden) over the years culminating in 5 members going to the International Convention in Torino in 2012. We have hosted one District Conference (1985) and three Area Forums in the region.

Compiled by Historian: Betty Gleed and Dr Julia Charity